Friday, July 16, 2010

The Heresy Hunters Are Coming!

(UPDATE 12/02/10: Since I first wrote this, I have gotten to know Chris Rosebrough, and he's actually a pretty nice guy. So I take back what I said about him. Ken, on the other hand, well that's another story.)

If you are a blogger, you will experience criticism from time to time. When your put your thoughts out there for the entire world to read, you will eventually find some one who disagrees. And there's nothing wrong with that. Here's the main thing to remember when dealing with criticism. If it's constructive criticism--for example, "I think you should research your topics more before you write about them"--then you should consider what your critics say, because they might be onto something. However, if your critics something like, "You liberal scumbag!" it's best to delete their comments.

The Christian blogsosphere has a specific kind of critic called the Heresy Hunter, who has taken it upon him/herself to expose every false doctrine they can find within modern Christianity. Heresy Hunters see themselves as modern day Reformers pitted in a battle against the corrupt Church. Sometimes they accurately find false doctrines that a lot of Christians accept, like the Prosperity Gospel and the Word-of-Faith movement. However, sometimes the Heresy Hunters forget about 2 Timothy 2:24-25: "The Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth." (Emphasis mine) When the Heresy Hunters get on a roll, they often resort to name-calling and finger-pointing.

For example, there is Chris Rosebrough, better known as piratechristian on Twitter. He is the host of the online radio show Fighting For the Faith, and he also blogs at Extreme Theology. He recently compared the Emerging Church to facism and socialism. To me, that's something Glenn Beck would say, not Jesus (unless it's Tea Party Jesus). Also, one of my friends recently had to block him from on Twitter because, according to my friend, time and time again Chris twisted his words and took them out of context.

But I can't totally vilify Rosebrough, because he actually does talk to people he doesn't agree with. In fact, he recently agreed to be a guest on Phil Shepherd's Whiskey Preacher podcast. I only heard half of the interview, but I was impressed by the way Rosebrough handled himself. In fact, I love the story he tells of the boy with Down's Syndrome who received communion. So even though his rhetoric might sound mean at times, he will listen to your story.

Ken Silva, on the other hand . . . well . . . let's just say that I don't think I'll be inviting him over for a cup of tea any time soon. And here are a few reasons why:

1. On his blog, he regularly slams Christians who do not agree with his theology. Some of his targets include: Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Rick Warren, John Piper (for believe in an Old Earth), Thomas Merton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Doug Pagitt, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jurgen Moltmann, Julie Clawson (for being a fan of Moltmann), Tony Jones, all Catholics . . .

2. When he can't think of anything to say, he relies on pictures like this:

3. He doesn't allow comments on his blogs.

4. He refuses to do interviews, unless it's with CrossTalk Radio.

5. He recently posted this picture as a jab at Bolz-Weber:

Sexist much?

If you find yourself in the cross hairs of the Heresy Hunters, what should you do? The best thing to do is ignore them. If they say something really offensive about you, though, email them privately about it (see Matthew 18:15). If you and the Heresy Hunter talk about the situation gracefully, and at the end agree to disagree, then you're alright. However, if the Heresy Hunter is persistent in bringing you down, shake the dust off your feet and say, "In the words of Tupac, 'Only God can judge me.'"


  1. Great post Travis... G'on yersel, my man!!!


  2. I thought of commenting: "You liberal scumbag!", "I think you should research your topics more before you write about them" just to see if you would delete or not.

    But really, I agree with your thoughts here (and elsewhere), so I won't try to stir up anything.

  3. If only people would devote the amount of energy they devote to fighting within the church to fighting for the church...

  4. if they are wrong about you, simply approach them via matthew 18:15-18